"Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning" - Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Attitude

It's one of those days and I'm in one of those moods where everything is provoking some sort of thought. It might be that it's the time of year when everybody is out spending amidst the cardboard signs asking for a little help, or it might be because of tv today... Watching IM Hawaii today was inspirational as always. NO, it does not inspire me to want to do an Ironman. The stories of so many people that have the will power to overcome and not give up, not only in their fight to finish at IM but just in life, is what inspires me. Everybody has a battle. There are 2 ways you can go: be optimistic and make the most of what you have, or just have a lot of self-pitty and put yourself in a hole.

When does the mind take over? At what point does your body say "no", time and time again, but your mind keeps you pushing? Thursday at our group run I felt off and I wanted to quit SO BADLY half way through the hill repeats. What made me finish? Drive and the will to want something that could be completely out of reach, and a matter of pride where I was having a tough time keeping up with the guys. Working with Noa and all the guys has been great. My confidence is building and because of that I KNOW that I can finish a workout even if my body tells me I can't.

Saw this video for the very first time at Adam's place a couple of weeks ago. These were driven people. I strive to be like this.


On a less intense note... A-Russ and I went for a wicked XC ride the other day; got good and muddy and was introduced to some awesome new routes! Note to self: put a permanent light on my cross bike. Christmas lights are up on the balcony and that's about as festive as I am going to get this year see as I'll be away next week.

Barring any stupidity or hilarity in the next week, this will be my last post before Christmas, so Happy Holidays to everybody!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Gunner Shaw 10k

Saturday morning I headed over to Vancouver (for the Gunner Shaw 10k at Jericho Beach) with Tyler on the 7am ferry. NOT a fan of the 7am since it means getting up at 5am, and I had only managed about 4hrs or fewer of sleep the previous night. Oh, and it was literally FREEZING when we got to Vancouver (-1.5 at one point!!). The ground was hard at Jericho, and puddles were frozen over with some pretty thick ice, but it was warming up a little since the sky was so clear.

Warm-up wasn't long or good since I was having trouble running...haha. My lower back is and was sore, so I couldn't support my core and my torso was basically collapsing. Plus, my torso was as stiff as a frozen tree branch because if I had any torsional movement it hurt! Basically the only reason I started was so I could run through a big puddle...which we were told on the start line was frozen and we were running around it! I started and I finished. Excuses are excuses, but at the end of the day I ran what I could and still managed to take 1:30 off my road-10k time. GS was a really fun course with a few hundred metres (each lap) of soft, loose sandy beach (which was terrible for running on), a nasty-smelling bog, and lots of trails. I figure if it were a 10k road race I would have been easily sub-35 since the sand and cornering on this course added a bit of time. So, I'm not super-happy about the time, but it was a tonne of fun for my first XC race. I am definitely not getting ahead of myself as there is a tonne of work to do, this year and over the next few, but it's going in the right direction so that is positive.

It is December, and base work is key. Logging the miles is the goal and staying injury-free is important. The back thing is my fault but a trip to my wonderful chiro, Andrea Sargent at Murray Chiropractic, will have me better in no time!

Here are a couple of pics from the run!



A little cold...


The start


Trying to keep my balance and find my footing around the frozen puddle!


Jeremy went through the puddle, I went around


Full Results and photos can be found at the Lions Gate Road Runners site.

Monday, November 30, 2009

RZR 2010

New for 2010, these wheels will be sweeeeeet!

http://www.theworldslightestwheel.com/

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't get caught without...

...TP! I know there are many of us that have gone on a trail run, just eaten not too long before, and get that sudden urge to go to use the can. I had that urge today. Being a geologist, I have seen some beautiful places while squatting behind a tree, but I always have TP. Next time I will remember that all-important, recycled white tissue.

Hit snooze this morning, then promptly turned the alarm off in my drowsy state. Awoke two hours later, oops. No swim today after all.

Early night tonight. Must do laundry first...

Monday, November 23, 2009

don't look in mirrors

Totally random, but I looked at myself in the mirror today and realised I have skinny legs. I need to work on that.

It's that time of year again: Costco is getting ready for easter, while the rest of the world is getting their christmas decorations up. Even mini easter eggs are being advertised as available the "other 364 days" of the year! Bloody hell...takes away from the novelty a little don't you think? Christmas doesn't really get me as excited as others, so it's really just another excuse to eat a lot of chocolate and candy, and then feel like crap for eating it all.

Adam and Rachel raced IMAZ yesterday (along with many others, who all had really good days!) and placed up there in the pro mens and womens field! Awesome job! 2 of the most humble people I know and totally deserving of their successes. I have a lot of respect for everybody that made it all the way through the end of summer and into the fall, still training and focusing for a big race while the majority of other athletes are taking time off and doing 'base' work!

Meanwhile, I am trying to plod along with training. Nothing really has been clicking in the pool lately which is kind of disturbing. The miles are being banked in the runners though, and biking has been fun with the incorporation of some muddy cross rides!

I have to stop procrastinating now.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Following flowing water

That's right, it's THAT time of year again...rain, puddles, mud...good fun for trail running and cross riding! This weekend I got good and muddy on a 3hr cross ride, riding the trails around Elk and Beaver Lakes, scooting over to mt Tolmie, and then hitting up mt Doug on the way back to the lakes. There is such a sense of accomplishment when you look at your reflection in the car window and your face and body is covered in mud. Good times!

Today was a 90 min run on the trails. Nick and I did some adventuring, getting slightly lost and backtracking a couple of times. Following flowing water is generally a good sign that you are heading downhill, but it makes for a slippery and muddy run! Almost lost Nick to the bushes today.

This week has been up and down. The beginning was fine, getting over being sick, but then Wednesday hit me hard. I didn't have the energy warming up for the thetis lake relay, and then when my turn came around I just didn't have it. Felt like I was so out of shape well before half way. Thursday followed the same trend. Started out the day with an awful swim in which I jumped out at 2k because I was DONE. Didn't have the energy. Then, a noon-hour run left me knackered with what should not have been that hard. It seems like anything where there was some intensity knocked me down right away. Hopefully this coming week starts off on a better track!

I should go take my wet, muddy shoes and clothing out the car...don't want it to start smelling worse than it does.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thetis lake 20k relay

Thanks to Leif for signing up last minute and letting Tyler off with just one loop of the lake ;)

We ended up 4th O/A behind 2 NTC teams and a running group from Nanaimo. It was a fun hilly, muddy run and it was SOLD OUT this year again! I think there were 150 teams (?) entered. What a great day to be running the trails.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Runner Needed!

We need one more runner to take on a 5k leg of the 4 x 5k relay out at Thetis Lake tomorrow. If you know anybody that would be interested let me know! So far, we are a group of 3 22-24 year-olds. Thanks!

On another note, I think I had the swine flu but it's allllll gone...except for the cough. The last 2 days in the pool were tough getting a feeling and rhythm back. Holding 1:20 for 100s on a easy to moderate effort didn't feel bad this morning so I still have a ways to go to get back in swimming shape.

Leaving on a musical note...


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Toy!

This is my new Toy! It's an Orbea Mud Cyclocross bike and it's awesome!! Already bailed on it today, on my first ride, because of some foot crossover with the front wheel. We've all fallen at a stop light before...haha!

Today was my first day of exercise since Sunday. After our Sunday run I developed a cough which immediately worked into my chest, then progressed into aches and chills - your basic flu symptoms. So, I've been out of commission for the last 2 days. The ride today was short (an hour and a half) but totally knocked me down. The lungs were hurting and I was seriously lacking in the energy department! It was fun anyway! Im hoping to get a solid sleep tonight and wake up in good enough shape to swim in the morning.

Just rolling along otherwise. Getting more volume in the running department which is great. Unfortunately, with my tatoo and then being ill keeping me out the pool, I haven't put very many miles in lately. That will have to be fixed quickly! It's also the PIH Theitis Lake 20km relay (XC run) in one week so I gotta get my ass in gear, get healthy and get a team together!

For now, it's time to rest.




Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A quick meal




Dinner last night. Really simple: chicken breast, pruscuitto, cherry tomatoes, olives, red pepper, garlic, spinach, asparagus - all cooked in one pan together.

Making quick and simple meals with lots of flavour is so easy to do!







This is the view I woke up to Sunday morning. Looking East-South-East over Victoria. Beautiful morning sunrise.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Great people, great vision

Yesterday ended up being a bit of a long day. I made the trek over to Vancouver in the morning to spend some time with friends, and attend a meeting that Speed Theory Vancouver was having with athletes for partnership opportunities. These people range from triathletes to road cyclists. People that compete on a pro level and as amateurs. The goal is to create a symbiotic relationship where the store and athletes support one-another, partly through a forum where we can all connect.

I'm really lucky and happy to be part of the Speed Theory gang again for another year. They have a fantastic vision for the next year, and it is really cool to see the store evolve into being so much more involved in the community (it alway has been!). They not only support individuals, but a number of prominent groups in the Vancouver area receive the same unwaivering support. I honestly have not encountered another place like it.

I am finding that my head space is in a really really good place right now. This entire year has made me so much stronger mentally and has made the process of training so much more enjoyable. The guys I train with are great, and their energy and drive makes me want more! It's a good thing since this time of year is likely to be the toughest to push through, with all the wind, rain and darkness. The great thing about Victoria, as I was saying to Jairus today, is that regardless if it is raining or not, the wind blows it right through. Today is a great example. Awesome place to be!!

Time to leave with a song. Haven't listened to Tom Petty for a while, but I heard this one again and thought it was appropriate:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I think I've been here before...

Last night I watched the final hours of Ironman Hawaii with Noa and Andrew and was blown away by the performances of those pros. Amazing, just amazing. Just a mention for Mike Neill and Jasper Blake who both made it to Kona this year, which in itself is such a huge accomplishment!

A suggestion came up about getting pizza. There was no more talk for a few minutes and then it was brought up again. So we ordered in. Perfect pre-race food. The Joint on Warf Street is awesome. They make wheat-free pizzas - so hard to resist!

So this morning I woke up at 5:15am. The alarm went off. I didn't just hit snooze, I turned it off. Good thing I had it set for 5:20 and 5:25 too - it seems I know myself too well. Everybody has been in the position where they are lying in bed, eyes open, thinking 'I'm not getting up' but then questioning their reasoning. This morning was one of those days. I knew that if I didn't get up then I wouldn't be able to get food in before the run, which probably wouldn't turn out too well. But I really didn't want to get up! Threw on the stereo and turned it up - it's a good thing I don't have neighbours below me yet. Got dressed, relaxed, and headed out the door at 6ish. Because I am so close to downtown I ended up walking in. Still felt good, relaxed, really really cold, 'damn I wish I'd brought gloves'. Got warmed up to wait in line for the bathroom. Pushed my way through all the people that were lined up at the start - I was pushing it for time - and got to the front.

First km I went out way too hard - when I saw the people beside me and in front of me I thought 'oh crap'. It felt good, but I knew I would pay for it. The problem was that Simon was right beside me and there were maybe 10 guys in front so I couldn't very well drop back. Simon was cruising! Made it look so easy. From about 2km onwards I slowed and got passed and felt like my lungs were burning. Finished with a 4-min pb over my last 8k in January (really though, it wasn't exactly much of a time to beat...), and got a pb through 5k over my last 5k in July. I was like 9th in my A/G and 24th overall - don't think I'll crack that top 5 A/G spot for some time....one day, though! Just a bit more work...

What did I learn...? It seems that every race/experience I do or have leads me to the same question. That's because I learn something new EVERY time. This time I went in really relaxed, on top of nutrition, and with a greater confidence in my ability. I came out realising that I need to figure out pacing (something I know is terrible). If I had paced better through the first 2k I would have run faster.

This is coming off almost a month of time off and easier training loads. Everything is slowly moving in the right direction! And, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Lunaracers!!! I have been running in them since July and they are AWESOME!

Time to make some pie!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Change is good!

New things are happening, life is good.

Change is GREAT!

I am headed back to UVic in January to start my pursuit of a physical therapy degree. For now, I need to get all the pre-requisites done for the application, since a geology degree just doesn't cut it when anatomy and physiology are concerned. Well, my application has already started... I have to bank 70 or more hours of volunteer or paid work in that field and I have found a physiotherapist (with 100% of the help and work being done by Noa...thanks coach! :D ) that will let me shadow her! Things are slowly falling into place and it is really exciting!!

Jairus and I went for a 1-loop run around Elk and Beaver lakes this afternoon which ended up being really informative for me. Not sure how much I contributed to the conversation, but Jairus put a lot of things into perspective and made some things make sense when it comes to running. Not being a runner, I find it hard to feel what I need to change, where with swimming I can feel things. I know when I am swimming like crap, I can feel it. I can feel what I need to change (whether I do or not is another story...), but running is totally foreign to me. Anyway, it is good to start running with people. The time goes by so fast, plus I have been trying to shy away from running with music since you don't race with music. Time to log the miles!

Tried making wheat free pumpkin pies last night... Buckwheat flour is not the best thing to use, at least as a third of the flour mixture. It turned out kinda like cardboard. The filling was fine - not really too hard to mess that up! Will have to play around with it a bit more. If anybody has good wheat-free recipes let me know! I am always looking for something different.

Jairus's roommate is apparently pretty darn good with mixing and creating music! Check him and his music out at his myspace page (for those that like to get into the dance groove....you know you wanna):

http://www.myspace.com/djlmkw

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Strength

I borrowed this from a friend but I had to share...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jeOguqNIAo

Couldn't embed it into the blog, but click on the link.

Be Strong.

Monday, October 5, 2009

a sense of understanding

Initially I started blogging to tell friends and family of my journey through training. It has quickly evolved into more than that. It has become a place to vent when I need to talk to somebody, anybody. A place to stay connected with the triathlon community. Then there is the way I am feeling right now, which I have to put into words.

Being misunderstood is one of the worst things. Why is that? When you are always trying to make sure people are happy and please them and then are told that you aren't a good person (not in so many words), it cuts really deep. I apparently get pretty upset when this happens(that sounds pretty sad, I know, but this is where I'm at). Placing confidence and trust in somebody is hard enough as it is. So, do you go and try and change a person's opinion of you or do you move on knowing that they think of you in such a bad way? I say you do the former... Just writing down my thoughts here helps me express myself.

On a less intense and slightly (but not hugely) comical note, the person that parks beside me in the secure underground parking garage to my building had their sports car stolen yesterday... Comical only because it is so absurd, but really quite incredible that somebody would have the balls to do it. I don't think it helped that he had his windows rolled all the way down and his fob for all 4 gates in the underground parking garage sitting in his car...

I wish they had taken mine (oh and you know the keys are in the ignition and the driver's door is wide open... )! :P

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thrills

The end of one week, the beginning of another...

I want that thrill of racing to come around soon. Next weekend is the kick-off of a few months of running focus with racing almost every to every other weekend locally and in Vancouver. I'm stoked. Not sure on how well I will do next weekend, but it will be better than the last 8k I did this year and that is all that matters at this point. Time to get out there, put in the miles, have fun, and above all stay injury-free!

Today was amazing! The sun was shining bright without the interuption of a cloud in the sky, from the moment I opened my eyes right through the entire day. I had a relaxed and fun trail run through Mount Doug park this morning and it felt pretty good. Normally I don't venture too far off the beaten track but this time I got totally lost and ended up finding myself staring down at a decent drop off the rocks. Good fun. An easy bike ended the day of training, followed by a long but well-worth-it wait at Cafe Fantastico, down at Dockside.

It's late. I'm not tired. The jetlag is still playing havoc with my body clock. I should at least go try sleep....or watch Borat...

Later

"You can't hit a home run unless you step up to the plate"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lazy Days

To say this week has been slow is an understatement. Trying to hold back and just relax is hard! The lack of structure and regimen has been good, I can't lie about that. I have at least found some things to keep me busy in the apartment. Pictures and photos are slowly taking their place on the walls and the corner of excess is starting to diminish in size.

So, to keep myself somewhat busy I have been searching for things to do in Victoria when the weather is bad (ie winter) and when I have lots of time to kill. Come January I will be at UVic so finding things to do will not be an issue, but for now... There is an indoor climbing gym not 1km from my place and I had NO IDEA until tonight. It is now on my very short list of things to do.

Tomorrow is an entire day off. Maybe a bit of team bonding is in order?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The leaves are changing

After a long trip back from Perth, I'm back in the comfort of my own home and finding myself really really bored! It's good to be home, but I have a really easy week of training ahead too...what to do...

I came back with a didgeridoo (which is so hard to play!!) and a piece of aboriginal artwork which is going to be the centrepiece on my wall. Pretty cool stuff but it was a pain to get through New Zealand and into Canada (the wood from the didgeridoo).

Today I slept in again, only until noon, went for an easy ride (the first time back on the bike since I raced in Oz), and then went and took some photos of leaves turning. I love this time of year when the air is crisp, the sun is still warm when it is out, the colours of flowers seem so vibrant, and the leaves are turning. Here are some pics from today, the first one is actually from Perth:












Saturday, September 12, 2009

Worlds race report

The Gold Coast is such a beautiful place! I came down 5 days before the race to get used to my surroundings. Coming off such a bad experience in Kelowna, I was making sure to change the way I approach a race. Warning: this might be a long post...

Firstly, I started reading again. This might sounds pretty stupid, but after HAVING to read at university, the 'thrill' of it went out the window and I didn't want to do it in my own time. I am not one for fiction, but would rather read about overcoming adversity and reading about life's lessons. I went and picked out a book by Johan Bruyneel and dove right in. Any time during the week that I have felt like my mind has wandered in the wrong direction, I have sat down and read. In the mornings I go get a coffee and sit for an hour at least, reading and writing a journal. These things have helped hugely in keeping me level-headed and relaxed - in stark contrast to pre-nationals.

I also thought about the reality of racing. What can I REALISTICALLY hope to achieve here? This is really only my second year of triathlon racing (with the exception of 2 races in 2007), and my 7th or 8th olympic distance race. The first olympic distance I did in 2007 took me 2:29 and some change, and then my fastest time last year was 2:15 and change. I had some good workouts during the taper week and felt refreshed and sharp. Sleeping wasn't great and I think the most I got was 6 hours (interrupted). But, I didn't feel like it affected me.

Race morning I woke up smiling and ready to go. I ate and grabbed a cab to the race site. The taxi driver ripped me off a little but I didn't care. Why get upset about it? I am pretty sure he was drunk and he was pretty amusing. Transition setup was smooth - I borrowed some tape and some elastic bands (which I lost within 5 seconds...?), got the tyres pumped up, a quick jog with some pick-ups, then wandered over to the swim start.

The water is salty. I had neglected to even think about it before coming down here. Makes sense though - ocean water = salty. Warm-up was fine. Lots of people going in many different directions so I got some sighting practice without thinking about it.

Looking back on the swim start, I was a bit stupid in the position I chose. I am not aggressive at the start, and I found that out in Kelowna when I got beat up at the start. This was worse, and stupidly I chose to start right in the middle. They called the start, we went off and proceeded to beat each other up thru the first buoy. After that I had a swimmer on either side and got swam over numerous times because both of them, or all 3 of us, couldn't hold a straight line! Coming out the swim, I wasn't overly happy and my stomach was acting up because of the salt water I had taken in. Transition was a little slow and I got onto the bike.

Right onto the bike my left hip hurt like it had the previous months. I was worried. But, it went away as I warmed up more. I didn't have the power and got passed by 14 people on the bike. It was a gong show: people were drafting like crazy. The first lap I was honest, the out on the second I drafted, and then on the in I was on my own. People that were in those 30+ people packs got such an advantage. The only downside to it came later... When I was on the run a biker swerved into the oncoming lane, rode right into the official motorbike which in turn took out all the people it was beside in it's lane, then all the people drafting behind came in and created a huge ugle pile-up.

T2 wasn't overly quick but I got through it. Onto the run I was feeling ok - better than in previous races. I started passing the ladies in front and gradually got my legs on the first half of the first lap. I was passed by one other male 25-29 on the run but over the course of the 10k re-passed him and passed one other. My finishing time was close to 10 minutes shy of the leader for the age-group, and I ended up 47th of 107. Not exactly ideal.

But, today I am looking at the stats...

Swim: 20:21 31/107
Bike: 1:01:02 48/107
Run: not sure about time 47/107

The swim was brutal. I was passed by 3 in T1, and then another 14 on the bike. Then I was passed by another on the run. BUT, contrary to my usual self, I actually passed 2 people on the run. This is at least showing some progress! Usually I end up placing worse and worse through each discipline. After the bike I was 218 in overall male standings, then dropped to 222 after the first lap. But then I made up ground and finished 207 overall male.

I am not disappointed/unhappy/annoyed about the race. I am happy I came here and finished. I had a tonne of fun on the run (WEIRD!!) and was high-fiving people all over the place.

I raced smarter (not running through the water shower and subsequently avoiding blisters!) and more head-strong than previously. I knew that if I relaxed it would be better and I would get more out of it.

I am so excited for next year already. I know what I need to focus on this winter and it is a lot. I know that with time it will all come together. I am gradually realising the magnitude of how much time it takes and it makes looking at the big names race even more humbling. Somebody was asking me yesterday during the elite men's race if this person or that person could swim/bike/or run well. And my response was, they can all swim/bike/run otherwise they wouldn't be there. They are all so talented and so fast but to see one person off the back you might not realise it.

This year I have realised something: perspective. I have learned a lot about myself in terms of life and training.

I would not be here without life's lessons. Without coaching from Noa and her ability to put up with me almost on a daily basis this would not be possible. She has been realistic with me from the start and it has started to sink in, finally! Jeremy and the guys at Speed Theory have helped me out so much with bike parts, etc, but have been great friends more than anything else. A big thank you goes out to Brian at Podium Imports for letting me come over and bother you at work. Even though I know you are busy you still take the time to sit and chat! I owe you guys a drink!

A week of "rest" now and then back into some training for the RVM 8km in a month, and into winter training!

I'm going to leave you with one last thing. A quote from Lance Armstrong's book, 'It's not about the bike':

'Your Past forms you, whether you like it or not. Each encounter and experience has its own effect, and you're shaped the way the wind shapes a mesquite tree on a plain.'

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just a quick post

So, that's the end of the season! Just a quickie. Here it goes... 2nd canadian in 25-29 (47th overall of 107.... :S)

felt really relaxed coming into this. had a great morning, felt fine. swim was a gong show, got kicked about a lot (I need to be more aggressive!!) and lost some time there. ended the swim in 20:21 after the run up the beach. bike wasn't stellar but just rolled along. 1:01 and some change. really didn't have the kind of power that I had leading into this. Run felt good. a little off what i wanted to do, but i'm happy nevertheless.

12 minutes shaved off last year's best time. i was in an age group of 25-29 year olds and I'm 24 so I definitely suffered on the strength end. lots of take from this. lots more progress to be made and lots more consistency and learning to take from it. Can't wait.

Time to relax!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wow

WELL.... So, what to say? I probably shouldn't be blogging right now but I need to, just to get out some frustration. This was my first big race. Big names, lots of people, nationals. I wanted to finish. I didn't want to be one of those people pulled for being lapped.

Turns out I got pulled. But I wasn't lapped when I was pulled. The swim was actually ok. I had a decent arm turnover, just had a god-awful start and got thrown about like a ragdoll (it was INTENSE!!). Then I lost some feet at the first buoy, but started to get back to them through the course of the end of the first, and the second lap. Just didn't get there though, so I missed a group on the bike. I'm not sure what lap I was on, but I had caught, passed, and dropped a U23 and was passed by the lead motorcycle. They shouted something but I didn't hear and didn't pay attention. Turns out they were pulling me!!

The lap before, they said that the lead pack was 90 seconds back, so I picked it up and put in a faster, stronger lap and felt really good. The next time around at the same point they said I was just under a minute from being caught. Well, simple math says that I had only lost about 35 seconds on one lap, so I had AT LEAST one lap left before potentially getting caught. The worst part is that I was feeling stronger and actually finding some legs. So, I am really annoyed right now. Nothing else. I'm not upset about it yet. I'm annoyed at the actions of one official from Calgary and if he is reading this then he knows who he is. I feel like I haven't raced. I'm not tired or sore. This little man took away an experience that I have prepared for and put so much time into. Maybe I would have been caught on the lead pack's last lap, or maybe not. I heard from a few people that they slowed, not sure if that is correct.

Anyway, just a rant. I was in the same race as some world-class athletes and a lot of up-and-comers and it was pretty cool to be in their presence and extremely humbling to see them race.

So, I am sick of Kelowna and have a ticket booked back to Victoria tomorrow (Monday) and will be back in the Okanagan on Friday to watch IMC. I am going to get right into a couple weeks of solid training before Australia. I have something to build on at least but I am out for some redemption in 3 weeks time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughts and emotions

IT hit me about a week ago. In 3 days I am going to be racing against the best in the country in my first draft legal olympic distance race. I am scared. No, really. Not nervous, anxious, excited. Scared. Maybe I am a little of the former, but the fact that this is such a huge race for me is starting to scare me!

This is the culmination of so many emotions, injuries, training, sacrifices over the course of the year. What do I expect? The simple answer is I am not sure. I know that it will be hard, harder than I can imagine. But once the first one is out the way, it will get easier. I can't imagine how much one would benefit from knowing what it feels like. All those seasoned athletes that have raced continental and world cup races before know what to expect. They know the pace changes. They know what limit their body will go to. I am going to find out. I have something to prove, to myself and to others that may have doubted me, or to those that have encouraged me.

I just want to say a big thank you to everybody that has been giving me support!

I guess the next update will be in a few days.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rolling along

Back into the swing of things this week with the back almost back to normal. Just making sure that I stretch a lot and keep my posture.

There is a youtube video circulating the blogs right now. You can find it at Mike Neill's blog.



Thought I would give a quick review of some wheels I picked up a few weeks ago. The Reynolds Assaults are 20mm shallower than the Strikes I got a few months back. They are a 46mm rim depth; more aero than a training wheelset but not too deep to get taken by wind. The Assaults are a carbon clincher, so not as light as a tubular but lighter than most other clincher wheels out there. I have ridden them on the R3 and now they are home on the Soloist. The roll I get from them is great, they are so light and quick at climbing and descending, and stiff too!

It turned out to be a decent day in Victoria. As the sun appears again, so do the tourists (in mass numbers). Time to go dodge them and get down to dallas road for a run!

Monday, August 10, 2009

blog, blog, blog

All I do is blog right now, in stark contrast to the last few months!! I guess lots is happening and I am finding the time, lots of it, to sit down and type away!

2pm rolled around today and I noticed something odd... There was a feeling absent that I have been feeling since last Tuesday; discomfort and pain. Sitting in my recliner I felt comfortable, not feeling like I needed to be more conscious of my posture. Maybe it was that stretch, coach? :D.

I'd encourage people to go pick up volume 4, issue 4 of Triathlon Magazine Canada (with a photo of Brent on the cover) and then go to pages 72 and 73. The article by Lee Gruenfeld is hilarious!! Not sure that I know of anybody training with a 747...

Calgary video

So at Calgary last weekend there was a motorbike with a guy using a video camera on the back, and they were getting in the way on the bike course. They'd fly by and then slow up and not leave any room to pass upcoming cyclists. Turns out that video is partially on youtube already. It's a nice course and the video highlights that pretty well. Look for me 4:43 into the video. I'm the one passing the camera in the orca gear and black helmet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAJlHcn5-PI

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Is summer gone?

Today I woke up and peered out the window to see flags waving fairly fiercely in the wind, clouds covering the previously blue sky and moving at a good pace. The weather report was for rain later in the day but with that wind I was worried that it would come in a little faster. So what did this all mean to me? Bike choice of course! Back to the OBB ride after a few weeks of hiatus from being out of town, so I wanted to ride the soloist and get some good rides on it before Kelowna. But, my new Reynolds wheels are on it so I didn't want to change the wheels and brake pads first thing in the morning. Anyway, out with the R3.

The back was pretty stiff this morning and still sore. I have a pretty good roll-and-fall-on-my-legs sort of technique for getting out of bed now. Only 2 weeks to Kelowna so I'm getting pretty nervous about it and trying to get quality workouts in without making the back worse. Today I saw my chiro after my brick and got some traction and ART done. It was so sore and bruised from the grassing yesterday and the entire area was really tight. As I sit right now, it is feeling pretty good (knock on wood). Just watching how I move and making sure the back is supported by my abdominals.

It's a soup day so I roasted up some veggies and threw them in a pot with some stock and then some lentils. Doesn't taste that great but it'll do. Consists of Peppers, artichoke hearts, carrots, onions, celery, garlic cloves, mushrooms, and eggplant, all roasted in olive oil that I "infused with fresh oregano and galic (ie, stuck oregano and garlic in olive oil in a big jar).

Time to relax and ice!

Friday, August 7, 2009

On Ice

Right now I am doing something like this...



Riding yesterday was actually OK. Trying to get up from the massage table was tough, and the chiro appointment hurt, but in a good way. Today it is feeling better but still not better. I tried to swim this morning and maybe got through 2k before I stopped. Not flip turning is a little different but I think I'll have it down before not too long :P.
Right now I am icing and heating on and off to try and reduce any swelling. Not a bad excuse to sit on the couch really, but I am looking at a disaster of a mess around me that needs sorted before the end of next week!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Being stupid

Yesterday I did some moving of boxes, furniture, and started unpacking my bike box. Seems like I put my back out in the process as it hurts to stand tall and kick when swimming. I'm off out now to test it on the bike for an easy ride, but later on I have a massage and chiropractic to hopefully sort it all out!

I finally went to Mole this morning for a post-swim breakfast. Nice place, good food. It's given me some ideas for my own home-cooked food.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Calgary 70.3 race report

On the shuttle bus over to the swim start I was thinking about training camp last week. The day after camp was over I was talking with Adam and was saying that at that moment I didn't think I could put my body through any more of what we had just done. It is all mental. My mind knew it was over. So, I thought that if I told myself I could do it then I would. There is no reason that I shouldn't be able to.

The swim was a bit of a screw-up on the part of the organisers, in my opinion. The male 18-29 went off in the second to last heat, after all the older people and female heats. So, sure enough we caught up with the previous heat by half way through which started to kill my time. I wasn't just sighting for the buoy but was sighting almost every other stroke for other swimmers! People were stopping right in front of me, right at the buoys, and on the home stretch because there was a bit of wake. My time was awful in 29.16 but I was still 2nd out the water for my age group and 32nd overall.

Transition was LONG. The run up to the entrance took forever and we had to have our shoes in our bags, not on the bikes. Onto the bike I started to feel my left hip which made me a little nervous. I kept on going but would have stopped if it got bad. This was not an important race for me as Kelowna is in 3 weeks and worlds in 6 weeks. I started passing a tonne of people and just kept trucking along through the undulating countryside. I went through 45km in just over 1:13, which was on pace for my goal of 2:30 for the ride. I am not the strongest biker but things have been coming along, slowly but surely. I was only passed by a couple of people in my age group and one or two from the 20-24 group. The ride was 94km long and I went through that in 2:31:04.

T2 was slow. Onto the run: In the first Km of the run I knew it was going to be a slog. I tried to get a higher leg turnover but my legs were just done. I thought I would have to walk for a lot of the race at that point. I ended up walking quite a bit mostly because my legs were done but also because my right foot was getting sore (same spot as last years stress fracture). The first 10km got better towards the end and I wasn't walking as much and got a better leg turnover and pace going. I didn't even look at my watch because it was so bad and I didn't want the mental aspect to kick in. I was going at a pace that I was comfortable with and what I thought would get me to the finish. More walking up the hill and then into a slight jog 5km out. At about 3.5km out I walked a little more, and then at 2km I stopped in pain with blisters on my feet. The last 2km were hell. My body wasn't the issue anymore, it was the feet.

I finished a couple of minutes under 5hrs, about 24 -27 minutes slower than I thought I should have/could have gone. 82/1079 overall placing. For my first half-iron I wasn't too happy, BUT the bike was good (for me) and I learned a lot (like putting socks on for the run...).

It is humbling as the pros are able to run so fast off the bike. After doing the race I can say 110% that I would never have taken a Clearwater spot if it had rolled down (didn't stay to find out) as I am not ready for this distance. I might do one or two early on in the year next year but this and the Ironman are not my distance right now.

I already have the bike packed up so all that is left is to go eat some food!

Everybody out there did a great job. It was a very well put on race. Definitely some teething issues as there always are with new races, but it is a great course and I would recommend it to anybody looking for a 70.3 next year!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Nerves

On race day when the usual nerves creep in, all I want to do is use the bathroom, and generally that is in my wetsuit. But the days before, like today and yesterday afternoon, I am finding myself question why I am doing this race. I want to come away from this with more than a good experience, more than a training day; I want a decent time.

When nerves creep in, I think of what I have done to get to this point. The hours of training are there, maybe not for a fast race, but for a decent one. I look at the people around me with their M-Dot shirts from other races and wonder how their experience will serve them tomorrow. Will they know not to push too hard on that hill because they know that 13km into the run they will hit the wall?

Adam and I drove the course and saw where all the tight corners and climbs are. That has made a difference to how I will approach the bike portion of the race. In the race briefing they called for a "gradual climb" for 16km. That "gradual climb" is in fact short easy climbs mixed in with descents, flats, and short steeper climbs. Knowing where to kick it if I am losing time is important. There are some nice looking roads, and even a freshly paved section (they were still paving it yesterday)!

I went to Popeyes and got my cytomax. Apparently nothing is small at Popeyes...oh well, more to pack home! I forgot to bring my fresh white bar tape so Brian from Podium Imports was good enough to give me some cork tape to finish off the bike. I think that's all I forgot!

I think, other than nerves, I am ready to go. Was up at 4:30am this morning to get some breakfast and get used to the wake-up. All that I can't control now is the weather!

Friday, July 31, 2009

The weather outside is weather

After some delays at the airport and then at the car rental company (they had me down as a no-show since I was late...), I made it to the hotel pretty easily and got settled in. The expo is fairly small and package pick-up involves a line to sign a waiver, a line to get your waiver checked, a line to get your race package, a line to get a spot on the shuttle bus, and then a line to get your chip. Then there are the lines for merchandise...

There are many things you can do to make the lead up to a race as stress-free as possible. One of them would be remembering your nutrition...I forgot. Today the mission is to go and find a place that stocks cytomax. This morning I awoke at 4:30am to a dripping noise. Before I had gone to bed I'd noticed the A/C unit dripping from the ceiling but by the middle of the night it was dripping harder and the floor was soaked which made the noise even louder. I put a dry towl underneath to stop the noise, but by 6:30 it was back. I was ready to get up anyway. The hotel has been really great. They moved me to another room, even though I was happy just to have it fixed. So, by 7:30am I had already moved rooms and was ready for breaky.

Adam and I are off to drive the course this morning/afternoon. The weather reports change every half hour to hour for sunday. Right now it's supposed to rain (?). Hard to say...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I love airports

First time flying with Westjet and my flight was cancelled! Right now I am sitting in the waiting lounge for my 11:35am Air Canada flight thanks to my awesome travel agent! A couple of hours late, but getting into Calgary at 1pm instead of 3:30 is much better.

Time to get a magazine and relax

Monday, July 27, 2009

MS Thetis lake swim

This was not a race. Yet, it was. A charity event that brought out strong swimmers and triathletes from Victoria. But nobody is competitive...

I only did the 1500m...once around was good enough for me. Got in a better warm-up than I did in Vancouver and then started to heat up in the wetsuit. I swam in my tri-suit in Penticton but I didn't want the young swimmers to hand my ass to my at this one so opted for a wetsuit...I'm not sure how much of a difference it really does make as I can keep my hips up without the suit.

Anyway, I went out fairly hard and held a decent pace through the first buoy and thru about quarter to a third of the distance to the next buoy. At that point I watched the train of NTC juniors go by me. I'm not the best at drafting so I didn't catch and stay on the feet. At that point I was ready to puke anyway. I went out too hard and was just holding on. It took the turn and the head for home to finally feel better (but still wanting to puke), and smelling the bbq way out at the small island made me eager to get into the beach. I saw a couple of others closing on my right but I had a tighter line to shore so just held them off long enough to get out the water and cross the finish before them.

My lats and triceps hurt after, like I had just done a gym workout. I didn't do the same amount and speed of swimming last week so maybe that is why.

This weekend I head to Calgary. I leave Thursday for the race on Sunday. I am more nervous about the weather than anything else. Calgary is so unpredicatable that it might be scorching or cold and wet...or snowing?

I will post an update early next week, or even from the hotel if I am really organised....I wouldn't hold my breath though!

Penticton training camp

It was such an awesome week down in Penticton! I put in some good mileage both on the bike and the run, but less on the swim than usual.

First day we get there: 1hr run followed by a 1hr swim (starting at 5pm)
Day two: up at 4:45am for a 6am start riding the IMC course. The first 90km felt so good and comfortable without much effort. The slight downhill all the way to Osoyoos helped too... At pretty much 90km Adam passed me. I was expecting it and knew it would be somewhere near the descents as I am chicken s*!t when it comes to fast descending (moreso when it is a training ride). The rollers sucked and the headwind before the turnoff to hte out-and-back was mentally draining more than physically. I missed getting sprayed with some sort of pesticide on the out-and-back, then got scorched and put into pain going up yellow lake, then back into Penticton for a 40 min brick run, which turned into a 30 min run because it was so HOT...and I was done. What did I take away from this experience? Well, I know 110% for sure that I am not going to be doing ironman any time soon.
Day 3: I think there might have been a "recovery ride" in the morning, which ended up being more of a sprinting/ego ride with a couple of people...oops. Not sure about what we did the rest of the day (don't have a schedule... :D)
Day 4: Monday...hmmm, was this the 2hr run day? I think it might have been. Maybe a ride in the morning first? Can't remember. Anyway, the run consisted of running from the head of Skaha lake in Penticton towards OK Falls as 20 mins EZ/Warm-up, 20 mins steady, 20 mins some sorta half-iron pace (not really sure what that will be yet but I'll post that one next week...). Made it to OK Falls in about 56mins, got some water and turned around. Going back I suffered way more than going out. I ended up walking for about 30 seconds total and took 1hr 2mins to get back to the house. Was this the getting-tossed-about-like-a-ragdoll swim day? It was FUN! Waves in OK lake are pretty decent.
Day 5: Tuesday consisted of hill repeats on the bike and a total ride time of 3hrs. There were some other workouts in there....ahh yes, a run off the bike which felt GREAT but my foot started feeling painful so I stopped 7 mins before my 40 min run time. There was a swim I think (?).
Day 6: Final Day. ahh yes, running hill repeats. I cheated. It took me the full 90 seconds the first time to get to the point where I placed my water bottle up the hill, but then every time after that it took 65 to 68 seconds to get to that point. There wasn't really anywhere further to go so the 90 second hill repeat got cut short. Easy 90 min or 2hr ride (can't remember) and then off to tickelberrys for some well-earned ice-cream!

A couple of us stuck around until Friday morning. Thursday we did some wine tasting and picked up some local Okanagan wine. Then for the bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken and stuffed bell peppers on the bbq. Great way to end off the week.

Legs felt pretty dead but otherwise all was good.

Vancouver Sprint

I headed over to the mainland for the sprint race put on down at jericho beach in Vancouver. I spent the night out there on saturday, had a decent sleep and felt fine going into the weekend. It was a training day so I wasn't expecting too much but still wanted to build on my training.

Sunday morning I went for a very short "warm-up" swim (which I think may have been why I was so flat on the swim) and then headed back to the beach for the start. Starter lets us go, run into the water, and push out the first 100-150 metres. At the first bouy 3 of us were turning and I was in the middle so ended up getting a thrashing, then took a nice elbow to the eye between the first and second buoy which made me stop and adjust my goggles. Came out the swim a few places back than I would have expected and hopped onto the bike. The first 7km or so was really ugly as I didn't find the power to put into the pedal stroke. I was passed by a girl on a relay team and didn't re-pass her until the top of the hill at spanish banks. The bike ended better than it started, but the lack of speed right off the bat cost me. On to the run I felt ok and slowly built into it, passing 2 people and being passed. I almost caught 3rd but the finish came too soon.

Overall, not great but with the training for Calgary 70.3 I wasn't expecting it to be spectacular. Definitely found things to work on and focus on more, but also found that my running is slowly improving which I am pleased about!

Onto the next post....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy C-day

ANOTHER beautiful day out on the island!

Last night I capped off the day with a 14-inch pizza and cheesecake (both wheat-free!!) from The Joint down on Warf Street. I iced my legs at Willows beach, which was much colder than I had imagined. WAY colder than throwing some ice in a cold bath (to me anyway).

Today I was up at 5:45am and out the door just after 6, headed up to Matticks Farm to ride into Sidney. The Sidney Days 5km was held today so I rode up and back (not from home since it would take a while). I was feeling fairly good. I had a good run off the bike yesterday, got my legs turning over fast. So, my goal today was to obviously go faster than 3 months ago in Vancouver and push myself.

I lined up at the front (even though I never end up hold that position) and went off. I had no idea about my pacing so just went out comfortably but not putting myself into problems by going too hard. The first km went by in 3:14, which was surprising as I felt really good. After that I fell apart. At about 1.5km I asked the guy next to me what his goal time was, as I wasn't sure what my pace was. I was watching Paula Findlay right in front of me and figured if I kept her in sight I would be fine. There was no 2km marker so I had no idea how much I was dropping off until 3km, which I went through in 10mins. The last 2km wasn't great but I tried to make sure I kept it going. A guy right in front of me pulled off to the side to puke so I was left with a gap until the next person. I think mentally not having somebody right in front of me to pace off broke me down too.

The end result was a 17:30. Over a minute faster than in Vancouver. It is a good indicator of where things are going and I'm happy with it. This is a training day so I will take it just as is.

A quick coffee with coach Noa and a ride back to Matticks Farm. Almost T-boned a kid on a bike coming off Lochside that didn't look BOTH ways. All good though.

Happy Canada Day everybody! If nothing else, it is great outside!

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Place!

I got the keys to the new apartment today! SO excited!! I thought I would have to wait until tomorrow or even wednesday, but they gave me keys today!

The morning started off better. I'm catching up on sleep and awoke less tired than the last few days. Swimming felt totally uncoordinated even though I wasn't going too slowly. It's the return to long course that is getting me. After weeks of flipping every 25, I have to regain some core strength and coordination I think. Quick bite to eat, off to the lawyers to give them MORE money, and back home for a rest before lunch, then core and strength, then an easy 45min run.

Pretty exciting day. Training was good, weather was great, and I am smiling ear to ear.

Tour in 5 days!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Packed, moved, new start

I've packed up my life in Cranbrook and moved it out to Victoria. This last week has been one of the most stressful periods of my life with getting a 24hr "flu", rushing to pack, dealing with lawyers, banks, movers, training, and driving all the way across the province. Finally, I got back into town yesterday evening and got back into the groove.

After days of little sleep (averaging about 5hrs over the course of 4 days, 3hrs sleep being the worst) I got up this morning to my alarm feeling SO TIRED! I was supposed to get out the door for the OBB ride and finish it off with a run. Well, it took me half an hour to get out of bed. During that time I told myself that I was too tired to ride for 4 hours and run 40 mins, that I could sleep longer and do it later. Then I thought about how I wouldn't have the motivation to ride for 4 hrs on my own later in the day and that I wouldn't have the opportunity to ride with those guys for another week if I missed it. Then I thought about how if I missed the workout I would only have 3 or 4 more chances to put in a workout like that before Calgary 70.3. Then I got thinking about a blog I posted about whether anybody would know if you didn't do that workout. Well, I made myself get out of bed. It was a long and painful process!

The ride was OK, nothing special. Legs were heavy but still motored along.

Amazing racing down in Des Moines today! Wish it was on the new Dextro circuit so that the entire race video was posted.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to hit up thetis for an early morning run finished by an open water swim. I tried to go for a swim in Kelowna on Thursday afternoon but it was so windy that there were white caps breaking, kite-surfers playing, and nobody else crazy enough to be in the water. I opted for the new H2O water park. It has the most clear and clean water I have ever seen in a pool. You can see another swimmer at the other end of the pool (50m!) so clearly!! I recommend a visit to those heading to do the Apple this August.

Bed time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wasa top 10

Wasa is a really fun race. This is the 3rd year I have done it and it has always been very well organised and put on. This year there were some slight changes to the bike course and a huge change to the swim course. On saturday, Andrew, Nic, and I went out to the lake to get in a swim and a ride. The lake was REALLY shallow this year. It was pretty clear and there were lots of places where you could touch bottom (not that you would want to since it felt like "goose s***"). After some frolicking around and getting beached a like a whale, we did 20km of riding then headed back into town to have an early dinner, get our race packages, and listen to the meeting.

This race attracts lots of Albertans since it is so close. There were 495 finishers in the olympic distance this year, and a total (between kids, sprint, olympic, and relays) of close to 1000 atheletes. It was good to see Steve King as race announcer. He has a way of knowing every athlete and being able to roll facts off his tongue.

The swim was actually a little short. Apparently the buoys had moved overnight but by how much I don't know (?). The sprint was definitely more like a 500m swim than a 750. Our swim course was a 1 loop joy. Thes start was not stellar but I did stay out in front of the mania following behind. I could see Kris Loshak coming up the inside line through the first 500-600m (not really sure how far, but it was the distance to the first buoy) and some others trailing back. After the first half, I started to find a rhythm and felt stronger. I was starting to catch the small group chasing after Andrew and Jon and came out the water about 20 seconds back of them. I walked a bit of the beach/trail/grass run to transition trying to get my wetsuit sorted out (maybe need some work) and was passed by Matt Seeley before the timing mat (so I came out in 9th, not 10th out the water). As I saw him run out of transition I said goodbye to a final overall position. He is much stronger on the bike than me.

I only had one goal on the bike and that was to have a final split of 1:02.00. It took a few kms to find my legs but once I made the turn right to Skookumchuck I got going and felt good. I wasn't putting myself into any pain or trouble by pushing hard but was putting out the watts and maintaining a speed that I thought (averaged out with the faster return split) would meet my goal. I ended up pushing harder the last 10km to make sure I made my time and was happy with it. Onto the run I wasn't feeling my legs for the first couple of km and let James Cunningham pass me but kept him withing 10-15metres. After about 3km I passed him and kept him there the rest of the race. I only had one speed on the run, the same split almost for every km. I think I could have run like that for a while if the blister on my heel hadn't been there. Definitely need some speed!!

Overall 9th. An improvement from last year but compared to last year I have put in WAY more training and hours, so it should be natural that I am faster. Still waiting for that run to improve...

Andrew won again for the 3rd straight year, and Nicolas came in 4th. Great job. Results here.

I am re-evaluating what my racing plans will be for July. The next 'bigger' races are Calgary 70.3, and the most important are Kelowna (elite race) and age-group worlds in Australia. Swimming has been coming along throughout the year and I am happy with the direction it is heading. Biking is getting there too, definitely in the right direction but a little more slowly. I need to work on strength in the near future. And running....well, I feel like there is little to no improvement. Like I said, last year I was in a different place in terms of aerobic fitness so this year it is natural that I would be a bit faster. I feel like I am not seeing any of the work translate into better runs in racing.

So, I think July I might only race once (other than a 10km or 5km on Canada Day) in order to put in some good hours. I won a draw prize to enter the Vancouver Sprint/half in the middle of the month so I might use that for training. I'm not sure if the Peach Classic will leave me too fatigued, taking away days of good training because of recovery from the race. The most important races are my focus and as much as I love to compete, I do have a goal which must come first. With the move into my new place I think I will have my hands full too :S .

This week is dedicated to packing (and training) and (hopefully) selling the last of the furniture before I move to the coast. This weekend I am going to head down to Coeur D'Alene to watch some friends race Ironman, and get some training done in NEW surroundings! It's only a 3-hour drive, so why not!

I read about a the open water group in Kelowna having set up an 800m course in OK lake that is protected from boaters by buoys. On my way back to the coast I am going to stop over and check in out!

I'm excited for the rest of the summer!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Furniture, anybody?

C'mon Amber and Matt, you know you want that sectional...

Seriously though, I have 2 weeks to get rid of A LOT of furniture. And by get rid I mean sell, as it is all BRAND NEW! I actually started to pack the other day, after about 4 days of procrastinating. Turns out I have learned from school that although it might seem like it will take no time, leaving it to the end will lead to severe lack of sleep and stress.

And I still forgot pics.

The last few days have been OK. I had a bout of sinus pain last night which I am going to go ahead and attribute to the abundance of chlorine in the pool here. On a more positive note, swimming is going well. The open water swim on Thursday night ended up being fairly easy as I had already put in the time for the day. I love my new suit more every time I use it. It is so flexible and I haven't had the issues of tightness or lack of ROM in the shoulders as I did with my previous suit. Last year I wore the Nineteen Frequency, and this year I am giving the Orca Alpha a go. I remember saying to Brian at Podium Imports in June last year (after worlds) how I thought the suit was a bit of a waste of time (with the forearm rubber parts for your catch and the thin upper). How wrong I was... It is expensive, but totally worth the money if you have those $$$ kicking around and want uninhibited movement.


Today and the rest of this week is easier in preparation for sunday. I'm off to the natural food store to get something to clear up this sinus pain.


Congrats to everybody that did the Oliver Half yesterday!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sunny Kootenays

I wish I had some pics to go along with this post but I haven't yet uploaded them, so maybe next time... It has been GLORIOUS out in Cranbrook since I've been here.

Monday morning I got up at 6:30am for the 7:30am swim, left the pool at about 9am, got home and packed up my bikes (yes, 3 bikes for 3 weeks away...it makes sense!) and then headed out to a 9:30 chiro appointment. Unfortunately my chiro was running a little late, so at 10am I had to leave in order to catch the 11am ferry. I stopped in Abbotsford to have lunch with a friend, and then hit the road ending in Kelowna at 7pm (throwing in an evening run). Dinner and then bed. Up the next morning for a swim, then a 6 hour drive to Cranbrook. Great weather, roads weren't busy. Good time. I had wanted to get into town so that I could ride at 6:30 with a pack of cyclists/triathletes. I was running late as usual and booked it out to the meeting place just off the highway, just in time to get going. The pack was split into 3 groups. I thought there were 2, otherwise I would have not been in that last group. We went off hard right from the start and about 5-10 mins in I decided I wasn't in for such a hard ride and took it a little easier. I still almost caught the second group that headed out before us just before they turned a different way than me. Ended with a solid 2 hr ride. Legs definitely felt tired from the drive, and I definitely didn't get enough food in me throughout the day either (BUT, I did hydrate!).

Yesterday I definitely felt the heat on my 1hr20 run. The bike isn't so bad but I am staying aware of fluid intake. This morning I got into the pool. The pool in town is 25 metres long, is fairly warm, and has WAY too much chlorine in it (at least it feels like it does). Main set was 8x50 band, 10x250 (200 steady, 50 hard), 8x50 sprints. I always used to like 25m pool as you got that little bit of rest and reprieve every 12 -14 strokes. Now that I swim in a 50m pool almost daily, coming back to half the distance is hard. All the flip turning...

3 more weeks and the house sale closes. I bought a condo in Dockside Green just before I left Victoria, so I am downsizing drastically. I think I have to get rid of about two thirds of the contents of my house here!! Packing and training aren't the challenge...it's trying to sell my furniture.

In a week and a half the Wasa Lake triathlon takes place. I am getting comfortable on the TT position so I'm fairly happy with the bike right now. I'm just looking forward to a fun day of racing in some beautiful weather like last year.

Thats all for now. Must run, literally. Pictures next time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Could this be any better?

This weekend is shaping up to be as good as the last few days with such beautiful sunshine beating down all day long. FINALLY, yesterday I was at about 85% better with that whole stomach thing plaguing my sleep for the previous 6 days. Today, I feel SO much better after an uninterrupted sleep.

I woke up at 7:30am, got some food in me and got myself ready and out the door to OBB for the Saturday ride. I was feeling just OK riding over, a little sapped of energy but it was still early. The ride today was surprising. It was more of a casual stroll for the most part out from Matticks Farm to the airport. At the airport I was waiting for somebody to take out the sprint and get some speed going, but nothing. So, I jumped out from the middle of the pack and took off up past the front. I am trying to get used to riding in my drops and today I got a lot of it. The pace picked up from there on to Brentwood but then as we made our way along Wallace Dr it had dropped again. So I put in another surge to get people moving. Interurban was fun with lots of attacks and some good speed. I was pretty happy with the ride.

Monday is coming about pretty quickly. I am not looking forward to the drive over to Cranbrook as it is tiring, even though it just involves sitting down for hours. I contacted Charlie Cooper of RMEvents to get some info on group workouts while I am over there. He puts on the Wasa Lake triathlon in June. It is the first race I ever did (in 2007). Very well put on, lots of energetic volunteers, and a beautiful location. Anyway, there is a group ride once a week (sounds like a team pursuit type deal) which I might make it to on Tuesday, some group swims (open water too - but it is still pretty cold), and lots of trails (with bears) to hit up.

Off to do some cleaning and packing...

Monday, May 25, 2009

For all those "burger without the bun" people

Ever asked for a burger without the bun and received the response: "would you like it wrapped in a lettuce leaf?"? Maybe the restaurants on the site below will understand without thinking you are on Atkins.

www.theceliacscene.com

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shawnigan

Today was a beautiful day just as the previous couple have been. The weather could not have been more perfect for the race up at Shawnigan. Leading up to the race I was really looking forward to racing the olympic distance and getting some open water swimming in. The course is beautiful and there is a tonne of support throughout the bike and run courses.

Friday I had the day off training so my younger sister, myself, and a couple of other people headed up to Thetis lake to a quiet spot that we would never have found if it had not been for the leadership and navigation of Jasmine (we had to trek along a small path through the bush...but it was nice). I left the lake a little earlier than the others as I had a massage appointment with Gibson. On the drive back to Vic my stomach started acting up, some pain and that urge to go to the bathroom. So, I made a stop before the massage. About 35 mins into my appointment I had to say sorry and leave as I didn't think I could hold out for the remainder of the hour before needing the bathroom. Turns out it was just cramps and bloating.

Friday night I spent a good amount of time in the bathroom and saw every hour pass by right up until I "got up" for the day. I spent a lot of time lying in the fetal position on my bed wondering how I was going to sleep, when I was going to sleep, why my stomach was being so crazy, how could I stop it, and how screwed I was for the race today. A bunch of Gas-Ex later (they are just like listerine strips, I never knew that before...) and little food (my appetite was gone) we were off up to Shawnigan to make the bike drop and do some swimming/biking. It felt fine. I never ran as I didn't think that it would feel so great.

Saturday night I ate as much as I could (even though my body was telling me no) as I would need the energy for racing, and having eaten little throughout the day it was really a last ditch effort to get those calories and carbs in. Last night I slept more but still made aquaintances with the bathroom door on a few occasions. I woke at 4:48am, 12 mins before my alarm. Got up, tried to eat some toast with pb and honey, and then headed out the door. I had already made the decision that I was not going to race the olympic distance, but rather do the sprint. I didn't get the rest or nutrition over the last day or so to make it worth it and I didn't want to DNF.

8:45am (or thereabouts...I forgot a watch) and we were off. I just wanted to get out in front and hold it for the short 500m swim. Pretty quickly, I looked to my right and there was nobody and to my left I could see Brent about half a metre back taking the inside line (he swam the half, the olympic (for fun), the sprint (for fun), and then ran for the half relay). After the start I settled into a comfortable "cruising" pace and tried to make sure I was swimming in the right direction. At the first turn Brent had the better line so went ahead. I snapped on his feet for the next 2 buoys but after the last turn he opened up a gap. I really need to practice drafting. Lowell was drafting off me and in the last couple hundred metres was swimming side-by-side, ending up 2 seconds out ahead of me.

The bike is a nice course, circling the lake. It is undulating but you can carry speed into the small hills. I had taken the new TT bike out the day before and heard squeaking. So, race morning I adjusted my brakes (figuring that's what it was) and let it be. Well, the squeaking was back and I figured out what it was. Turns out my rear wheel was rubbing the frame. I hadn't checked the dropout limit screws. Didn't have much energy for the bike and it showed in my split. Going into the run I was about 40 seconds back of first and started gaining on Lowell in the first 2km. Legs felt good and turnover felt good. He picked up his pace and I think I lost ground. I was pretty surprised with the run time (again, no watch) as it actually didn't feel bad.

Second overall (and age-group) in a field that wasn't strong like last year. It was a gorgeous day and I am glad that I raced, but wish that I could have done the olympic. I don't regret changing to the sprint. Steve Kilshaw had a great race in the half-iron (new course record) and Facundo came a close second behind ex-national team member Kelly Guest in the olympic distance!

This week is the last in Victoria before I head to the Kootenays for the month of June. Lots to do (including tiding this place...yes Facundo, I do clean...and I know where most things are).

Hopefully the sun will stick around for a bit longer to help with getting through workouts! Fingers crossed this stomach thing goes away soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

North Shore Sprint

So this is how it went: Thankfully it was an ok day for a race - no rain and fairly cool but not too cool. Leading up to the race there was some thought that I might not do it. I have been itching to race and get a feel for my legs, especially with Shawnigan and Wasa coming up. Last weekend I swam at Thetis Lake and by Sunday evening I was feeling sick. The week was ok with sessions in the pool and on the road not being bad but I was finding getting speed tough. Recovery was not great and my legs were pretty tight and sore (especially after track on Thursday night). So there's the build-up...

Anyway, I was excited to race with some super-fast junior elites. From the start I knew that I was at least going to get my ass handed to me in the pool as the juniors tend to be good swimmers. I swam somewhere in the 9:40ish range, hitting the mat outside the pool at 10:01. I was pretty surprised at the time as the swim felt pretty awful. There was no rhythm to my stroke and breathing (or at least I didn't feel it). T1 was ok, but getting on my bike and up the hill was really bad...after hitting a couple of cones and almost falling at the top of the hill I was on my way. David Roulston and I took turns drafting each other for the entire bike. I knew that he would be stronger running (as he was a runner at UBC) but I couldn't pull away when I should have.
T2 - not good. Really need to work on those transitions this week before Shawnigan. Ended up losing sight of David as we ran through the trails and just gave what I had left. The finish was so close to being under an hour. If I had just pushed harder going up those inclines through the residential areas instead of holding back then I would have posted a 59 something. One junior that didn't unbelievably well was Hillary Wille. A 16 year old girl in her second every triathlon and she went under an hour, up there with the guys. Congrats to Facundo for putting up a strong performance and a second overall!

So today I woke up to a really stiff/sore mid-back. I figured out why I was getting cramping just below my rib cage too! It started after my 2-hr trainer ride last week on the TT bike. Those muscles are just not used to being used! Anyway, the back...racing in the shortys on my road bike basically gave me a sore back. Good thing I am going to the chiro later today for my hip! Ever feel like the only remedy to your back-ache is a good crack? That's how I feel right now. I tried to stretch it this morning with no relief.

This morning we had a MS of 3x200, 6x100, 3x200, 6x100 (3:05, 1:30, 3:00, 1:40). It was a decent swim with steady efforts that were not too hard. I had to pull out of the last set of 100s after half way through the 3rd as my back was pretty sore. This afternoon I see the chiro then go for an easy run.
A couple of pics from the race:






Saturday, May 16, 2009

Drive, determination...snooze

I am reminiscing on the brief period of rowing I did at UBC and remembering how if one person didn't turn up for practice, it would change the entire workout for everybody. It is so easy to hit snooze in the morning and fall back asleep.

If you are not training with anybody is that lateness noticed? Maybe not right away, but when you race those missed workouts become recognisable. If you could change it, would you not hit snooze and jump out of bed even if you feel groggy?

This morning I hit snooze. I was supposed to be up at 6:30 to get some food and be in the pool at 7:30. My own schedule, my choice, and I hit snooze. Well, I actually turned the alarm off. Thanks to the sunshine, I awoke at 7am and made it to the pool.

I head over to Vancouver tomorrow to pick up my race package and get sorted out for the north shore sprint on Monday. Jeremy from Speed Theory is kindly letting me stay at his place for the night. Thanks!

Happy long weekend to everybody.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Staying strong

2 posts back to back...something must be wrong. Or maybe I am turning over a new leaf, kinda like finally updating my workouts on training peaks... :D

How often do you think about the people in your life that create the biggest and best influences on you? Or the people that bring the best out of you? Today was a busy day with a 5.3k morning swim, quick breaky, 90 min bike, quick lunch and shower, then to a meeting at the bank, then home to eat some more and relax for an hour or so, then to chiro, then a 45 min break before track. It all went like clockwork though.

Through the course of the day I found out that a person who has given me so much valuable advice over the last 6 years and been so honest, is sick. What do you say to somebody when they tell you that? "I'm sorry" are the first words. But what are we sorry about? Selfishly, I can't imagine dealing with anybody else. This honest, parent-like figure is the first person I think of when I need advice. I wish him a healthy and speedy recovery.

Monday is the North Shore Sprint. My first elite draft-legal race. It rained last year and I have heard that it is normally pretty hit or miss with the weather. This year looks to be no exception with rain looming at the end of the weekend....fingers crossed for dry roads!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New beginnings - and bike for sale

So it has been a while since my last post. Since then a lot has happened, both in my personal life and in training. Just a quick recap:




my g/f and I broke up after 4 and a half years, sold my house in the kootenays (made a pretty decent loss on it - such is life), raced in the TC 10km, battled some hip issues, got sick, got a new TT bike - more on that another time.



A bit of a rollercoaster ride with lots of ups and downs, but the weather has been alright and training has been coming along. Swimming is going well, biking is feeling strong, and running is kinda lagging behind. The TC 10k at the end of last month wasn't the race I wanted it to be. The positives at the end totally outweighed the negatives though. I have had some left hip pain and instability since the beginning of March and finally got it looked at post-TC. Dr Andrea Sargent at Murray Chiropractic has been so helpful. The treatments and exercises seem to be helping a lot, and the hip is close to back to normal.



Sunday was the spring sprint out in sooke. I rode out in the morning to watch and then made my way back to Langford to meet up with Don to finish the ride. I didn't plan the day well at all. I had eaten a small amount of oatmeal in the morning, a banana, boost and some nuts in Sooke, energy drink, and some gels - all between 8am and about 3pm. I could feel the bonk coming on, and even a quick stop at Mac's didn't stop it. Great learning experience.



I have started swimming with the longer course guys (Adam O'Meara, Steve Kilshaw, Jasper Blake, Ben Cotter, Sara Gross - to name a few) 2 days a week. It is great to swim with other people. I really like swimming and training in a group - self-motivation doesn't always push you to your limits like somebody else will. Today was so miserable outside. It is also crit day, but I never even tried to go. Last week it was raining too and the race was cancelled. Unfortunately the 6 or 7 of us that turned up didn't get that memo. Anyway, because of the rain and wind I did a 2-hr indoor ride on the new TT bike to get used to the new position. It felt pretty good. I started feeling the left hip after about an hour but eased off and it was ok. Did a quick run on the tready right after. The legs felt fresh!



I'll get some pics up next time of the new bike - it's a Scott Plasma 2.



I am going to be selling my 56cm Cervelo P3C (2006 colours - red and white) right away so if you are interested or know of anybody that might be, please send me an email at: kamal.rae@gmail.com. It is well-mantained and cared for. Ultegra groupset, 175mm cranks, vision base-bar, t2 cobra aero extensions.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sun, wind, clouds, Sun, Hail, sleet, rain...

That's kinda how today went as far as the weather was concerned. It was werid, just like something Calgary would experience. The day started off great and it looked like it would be yet another glorious day, but pretty quickly turned cold and windy as the clouds moved through. Then the sun came out again, and then the hail and sleet came in to finish off the day.

Today was the first time I have participated in a road race. I really need to get the experience of drafting in a pack, cornering, and descending. The course put on up at Caleb Pike was perfect - undulations, some short descending, short climbs, and of course cornering. I headed up there, in the sun, and was ready to take it as it came. Just as I arrived in the parking lot, it started getting colder and then the hail and sleet came down. Those that know me will know that I tend to underdress. This was no exception. Race format was an A group and a B group. I jumped in the B group.

I started basically at the back of the pack and stayed there the entire way. I was happy not to get in amongst everybody on the corners and everybody bunched up on the short climb anyway, so unless you were right out in front to put on a charge, there was no benefit to being the the middle. The pace wasn't hard. It was actually pretty easy going up the climbs, and steady on the undulations. I finished somewhere in the middle-back. I realised that my cautious riding around corners, and down hills needs to change before I race in Kelowna.

Times Colonist is on Sunday. Will post something after that. The last couple of days have felt pretty good. I have had lots of energy - partly due to such great weather! There have definitely been ups and downs, but the ups are completely worth the time spent in the lows.

Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A bit of imagination

The last couple of weeks have gone by pretty quickly. Soon it will be time for the TC 10km. I headed out to Cranbrook for a few days over the Easter weekend and was lucky to get some great days of spring-like weather. The roads are not as bad as I thought they might be after a winter of salt-spraying and heavy trucks rolling over them so riding was fairly good. A friend I rode with is planning on getting a garmin edge 705, but before he spends that kind of money he made his own version...



Check out that bike computer! It's a GPS unit, but it's generally used for fieldwork and navigation.


Back to Victoria and training has been rolling along nicely. I've been getting in some great swims and biking has been fun. Running isn't coming along as well as I had hoped (not going badly), but next weekend at the TC will be a pretty decent indication one way or the other.


Time to run, literally.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Seeing Red

Awesome...a word that I never really used much in vocabulary until coming to Canada. Now and again something would be “awesome”, but not like everything is over here.

I have found something that IS awesome. SRAM RED! I got rid of the DA from my soloist and cabled the old beast up with Red shifters and derailleurs, finishing it off with some new brilliant white bar tape. First off, I am not exactly mechanically minded. The last time I tried to set the front derailleur on a bike I failed miserably and almost stripped the heads on the limit screws. This time, I nailed it.

So, taking it out on the roads, I was a little apprehensive. Questions like: “Will this ACTUALLY shift properly?” were running through my mind. Shifting on a stand is one thing, on a road is another. I made it down to OBB for the group ride with no problems. There was the occasion where I wanted to push the blade across to shift up but those kinks worked out pretty quickly. Riding in the group was a good test for this group set. There were accelerations and slowing at random occasions which translated into needing to shift quickly. The double-tap system works very well. Shifting both up and down was crisp and very responsive every time. The new hood position was comfortable. And best of all – NO CABLES! The whole set-up was quiet also. There have been a number of posts on forums about how noisey the group set is. This noise is generated by the hollow one-piece SRAM cassette and. I am using a shimano cassette, chain, and crank.

The last week and a half has been good. With the exception of really tight calfs, getting soaked riding in the rain, and getting my first flat tyre EVER, training has felt better. The last couple of months have been a bit shakey with tiredness/lethargy/sleep problems but (knock on wood) it seems to have cleared up.

Maybe some sunshine would help...hint..hint.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Great Article

This is a great article as it puts all that has gone on in the states in the last decade into non-economic language. It is 8 pages long but is a really interesting read. If you don't have time right now, bookmark it and read it later!





Spring is finally here...apparently! I am wishing I was still in the warmth of Arizona. They are calling for possible snow next week in Victoria!! Maybe the winds will blow it right through.


I'm going to try my hand at planting some veggies on my small balcony. Got the everyday herbs started off in those peat pellets, but I saw a bigger tray for bigger veggies like tomatos, kale, etc. Not really too experienced with this sort of thing but I get lots of sunlight so it should be ok. I do have a habit of killing plants though. To prove a point, my neighbours in the Kootenays brought me 4 cacti, as did somebody else, as a housewarming gift. They had a great idea thinking that I wouldn't need to take care of them...too much. They didn't make it.


Our last swim in AZ:


Wheelbarrow races!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Not seen every day

I forgot to mention something that you don't see in Canada. Down in Phoenix, on our last day driving back from the pool I looked out the window and saw a motorcyclist passing that had a gun strapped to his belt! No, not a cellphone like lots of other people, not a leatherman either. A GUN. Anyway, in my amazement I asked Noa to get a picture of it.


Just thought I'd share.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring is in the air






So it’s been a while since I last blogged. Since then a lot has been going on with training and getting a lot of kms in driving across BC. A group from PT Coaching spent a week down in the desert riding, running, and swimming. It was great getting some warm weather. Having been sick with a cold/flu for all of February and the end of January, Phoenix was a great way to pull me out of a hole. Just what I needed!









Coming back to Canada I finally felt stronger, more energy, and ready to battle it out at UBC last weekend. I got a bike fit done on my Cervelo P3 on Friday in the hopes of a fast bike split. UBC year after year is known for its unpredictable weather – one of the reasons I have never raced it before. This year the good old weatherman called for snow! Sunday came about, the temperature was hovering close to zero, but the skies were clear. After a mediocre, aerobic intensity, swim I spent a good amout of time in transition, then jumped on the bike and headed out SW Marine on the downhill. Immediately I felt a pain in my left hip and lower back. Throughout the entire bike I wanted to stop. I couldn’t push any more than 32km/hr coming back towards UBC along SW marine because of the pain when I was in my aero bars. I did finish the bike in a little over 1:05 (1:09 with transition).




After all that, I ended up dropping out on the run. My feet started to warm up and started to hurt badly.




LESSONS LEARNED (not that I wasn’t told before the race): 1) Don’t race your bike if you a) just had it fit, b) haven’t ridden it more than an hour before your race it; 2) always remember your toe covers on your bike shoes.




Although it was a DNF, there were a number of positive things that came out of the event. The positives are all great things to build on throughout the coming months heading into the summer. I have had a good week post-UBC with some solid sessions in the pool (finally getting some speed back) and good workouts on the bike and in the running shoes.






Let the good times roll.